Reds and Blues turn Stanley Park purple as they Run For The 96
Red and blues came together at the weekend to wear purple and take part in this year’s Run For The 96 5K to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy.
Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG), Margaret Aspinall, led the group of special guests who along with participants came together to honour and remember The 96 in Stanley Park on Saturday (11 May).
Run For The 96 5K was first staged in April 2015 as a community legacy event and a positive way to celebrate the lives of the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough – while remembering the families of The 96 and the survivors, who have tirelessly fought for justice with the utmost dignity.
This year marks 30 years since the Hillsborough disaster on 15 April 1989.
Run For The 96 continues to have the support of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG).
Margaret Aspinall, Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group (HFSG), lost her 18-year-old son James in the tragedy. She attended the event for the fifth consecutive year and handed out 5K finishers’ medals.
Margaret Aspinall commented:
“The support we’ve had yet again for Run For The 96 is just tremendous. These people will always remember The 96 and that means a great deal to the families on the 30th anniversary. It’s great people are raising funds at the same time as remembering The 96, giving back to the good people of this city who have supported us for all these years. And this year everyone was in the same colour purple, just brilliant. It’s just so special.”
Sue Roberts, Secretary of the HFSG, lost her 24-year-old brother Graham at Hillsborough. Sue ran the 5K for the fifth year.
Family member Steve Kelly, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, also took part for the fifth year with his four-legged friend, dog Justice Jimmy. Steve lost his 38-year-old brother Michael at Hillsborough. He was joined by runners from the original Hillsborough-Anfield run.
More than 1,300 participants took part in the fifth annual event in Stanley Park, appropriately located between Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield Stadium and Everton Football Club’s Goodison Park.
Overseas participants who travelled to take part in Stanley Park represented the Czech Republic, Denmark, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and Thailand.
In addition, 200 Liverpool fans across the world also took part virtually. They were sent a full race pack in advance, includes race number, T-shirt and medal – so they could also join in with the event wherever they were based.
Virtual runners took part in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and United States of America.
Liverpool Football Club was represented by CEO and Vice Chair of the LFC Foundation Peter Moore; Matt Parish, Director of the LFC Foundation; and Liverpool FC European Cup legend Alan Kennedy, who all took part in the 5K.
They were joined by LFC Club Ambassadors Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler; and Anfield Stadium match day announcer, Voice Of Anfield George Sephton, who all cheered on the runners.
Everton in the Community Ambassador Ian Snodin also attended to support. Stage activity was presented by Everton’s match day host, Graeme White.
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and charity fundraiser Speedo Mick also took part in the 5K. Original Big Brother winner Craig Phillips and wife Laura, who walked the 5K course with nine-week-old daughter Nelly and dog Sydney, made it a real family event.
Liverpool Football Club CEO Peter Moore commented:
“This is something we have checked off in the diary at Liverpool Football Club every single year, and I’m happy I can do the 5K to commemorate The 96. When I think about football rivalries all over the world, we don’t really have that in this city – maybe twice a year! It’s a phenomenal environment with football as the platform for Liverpudlians all coming together.”
The 5K route took runners through Stanley Park, Walton Lane, Priory Road, Arkles Lane and Anfield Road, before passing the Eternal Flame on 96 Avenue at Anfield Stadium, then heading back into Stanley Park towards the finish line.
As the 5K runners gathered before the fun run, Liverpool FC’s You’ll Never Walk Alone and Everton FC’s Z Cars played, followed by a minute’s applause to remember The 96. This was followed by The Justice Collective’s cover of The Hollies’ classic He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother – the song which unites Liverpool and Everton fans.
The Farm’s Altogether Now rang out as youngsters started their 1 Mile Fun Run.
Run For The 96 5K participants have previously worn specially made Liverpool Red or Everton Blue T-shirts. But for the first time and to mark the 30th anniversary year, everyone wore purple to represent a combination of the city’s footballing colours to show the solidarity of Red and Blue fans coming together as one.
Beneficiaries on-board for 2019 are Jamie Carragher’s 23 Foundation, the LFC Foundation, Everton in the Community, and Stanley Park CIC. Together, the beneficiaries support the vision of creating a positive community legacy event to honour The 96, and are committed to ensure that local communities benefit from the event.
BTR Liverpool organise and deliver the event. The entry fee pays to stage and deliver all aspects of the event. Participants are encouraged to fundraise. Donations can still be made by visiting the official fundraising page at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/RunForThe965K2019Team
As part of the event’s commitment to creating a community legacy, the event also featured activities including soccer skills, coaching and open goals from the LFC Foundation; family yoga and fun games from Stanley Park CIC; and giveaways from the Radio City Street Team.
Runners also went the extra mile by taking along food donations for Fans Supporting Foodbanks; as well as sports kit and running tops for KitAid, a charity recycling unwanted kit for youngsters and adults in Malawi, Kenya, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Cape Town who do not have access to kit.
Refreshment stands Crazy Cow Coffee, Hyacinth vintage ice-cream van, and The Little Green Juice Box all supported the event by donating a percentage of their day’s takings to the four official event beneficiaries.
Volunteers also played big role on the day, including Everton in the Community, the LFC Foundation, Liverpool Running Bugs, and members of the Merseyside Running Community.
The day’s most senior participant was Jim Perry who turns 80 in July. Originally from Dovecot and now living in Prestatyn, this was Jim’s first Run For The 96. He made his way round the course with daughter Elizabeth. Jim was given Race Number 80 specially for the event.
The date for next year’s Run For The 96 will be confirmed once the football fixtures for the 2019/2020 season have been announced.